Research partners, Shannon Wanless, Associate Director of Research in the Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh and Confident Parents, Confident Kids’ Author Jennifer Miller share findings from their latest study on the direct alignment between our hopes for our children and our parenting with social and emotional skills on NBC’s Parent Toolkit. It begins…
My four-year-old son became hysterical kicking and screaming in the store’s checkout line when I said “no” to buying candy. What was I supposed to do when we were in the middle of a crowded public place and my child was having a major meltdown?
My sons were arguing and just wouldn’t stop. They were mean to one another and nothing I did seemed to help. Eventually, I led each to bed to end it. But how could I have helped them resolve their problem and stop their meanness to one another?
My twelve-year-old lied to me and when I confronted him with it, he didn’t seem to understand why lying was wrong. He thought all his friends did it and it was perfectly fine. How could I help him understand the severity of what he’d done?
For all parents, these situations are familiar and challenging. Those of us who work in child development aren’t immune to these situations either. We are all faced with daily dilemmas where we have to consider how to stop an undesirable behavior, teach an important life lesson, and be responsive to our kids’ changes. We know what we hope our children will be and become, but in those daily tough moments, it’s difficult to figure out what we can do to achieve those hopes. Our angry child isn’t showing kindness or confidence in that moment. But can our reactions help him manage the emotions he is struggling with and move him any closer to those qualities we hope for?
Recently, my colleagues and I surveyed nearly one hundred educators, who also happened to be parents, about their own parenting experiences. We wanted to see if their hopes for their children and their hopes for themselves could match up with skills that can be built through small, teachable moments. Parents shared that they wanted to raise children who were happy and fulfilled, confident, empathetic, kind, loving and responsible. Similarly, when we asked parents what they wanted to be like as parents, they said they wanted to be happy, patient, encouraging, loving, and kind. The good news? All of these traits can be built through practicing certain skills. READ FULL ARTICLE.
To learn more about the research behind this article, check out the Confident Parents, Confident Kids’ Research page.
Special thanks to the third co-investigator on this project, Roger Weissberg!